prejudice and discrimination

Topics: Black people, White people, Race and Ethnicity Pages: 3 (917 words) Published: October 27, 2013
Prejudice and discrimination essay

The idea that prejudice is a problem and injustice that pervades all aspects of society is a message that is communicated in both to Kill a Mockingbird and the Help. This is expressed in the relationship between black and white people that are portrayed in the texts, in the characters’ attitudes towards each other and in the challenges and experiences that the main characters encounter.

Prejudice is an unreasonable attitude, feeling, and opinion pertaining a specific group of people or an individual, particularly those of a hostile nature. This means that prejudice is an attitude or opinion about a particular group of people or a person that is not based on concrete facts or evidence and can often be misleading. Discrimination is any action taken that differentiates or treats people differently because of a person’s prejudicial attitudes.

In both to kill a Mockingbird and the Help the author demonstrates how entrenched prejudice and discrimination is in society by showing that fear is the major factor in characterising and shaping relationships between black and white people. This fear is heightened through the use of violence and abuse of power which creates mistrust and suspicion. This mistrust is so strong that even the slightest show of sympathy for the opposite party, or nemesis, is treated with cynicism and contempt. This, therefore, affects how individual characters relate to each other, as that characters are very different from each other in terms of race, socio-economic status, e.t.c. would tend to be (initially) distrustful or aloof towards each other.

This demonstrates that prejudice is so prevalent in society that for many people, harbouring prejudicial attitudes against a particular group or individual is the status quo, and that to challenge the people’s prejudicial attitudes would mean that the entire community would have to undergo a massive transformation in terms of social hierarchy and...
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